Fairfield High School junior running back JuTahn McClain talks about Friday night’s 31-13 victory over Princeton at Fairfield Stadium.

Football: Jutahn McClain, Sammy Anderson headline area's top-rated recruits this spring

With the school year winding down and the summer recruiting season about to heat up, more than a dozen players in the Cox Media Group Ohio coverage area are already rated among the state’s top 100 football prospects for 2020. 

Here is a look at which players made the cut in 247Sports Composite rankings as of early May. 

>>RELATED: Area players work to impress college coaches from across the region and beyond

They are sure to change — both with players moving up and down the rankings and others who haven’t been noticed entering as they stand out during summer events or on the field this fall — but this is a snapshot of where things stand now before players hit the road to be evaluated in college camps across the country. 

»» RELATED: Area seniors who signed to play football last year | 2018 Cox Media Group All-Area teams, coaches

(State ranking in parenthesis; offers via 247Sports unless otherwise noted) 

1. (6) JuTahn McClain, Fairfield running back 

The nation’s No. 6 all-purpose back led the GMC with 1,676 yards rushing and 25 touchdowns last season, averaging 7.9 yards per carry. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder caught 23 passes for 378 yards and five more touchdowns and also returned a kickoff for a touchdown. 

The Midwest power trio of Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame headline his list of more than a dozen offers, which also includes Cincinnati, Louisville, Missouri, West Virginia and Penn State. 

Fairfield's Jutahn McClain stiff arms Lakota West's Hunter Anderson II as he carries the football during their game Friday, Sept. 14 at Fairfield Stadium. Fairfield won 37-3. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Photo: Nick Graham

2. (20) Sammy Anderson, Trotwood-Madison defensive back 

The 6-2, 170-pounder caught six passes for 88 yards and a touchdown last season and was credited with 12 tackles and two interceptions. He was also a double-figure scorer for the state champion basketball team, and his lengthy offer list includes Boston College, Duke, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Iowa State, Michigan, Minnesota, Penn State, Purdue, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. 

2020 prospect Sammy Anderson (right) was among players to work out for college coaches Monday at Trotwood-Madison High School. (Photo: Marcus Hartman/CMG Ohio)
Photo: Staff Writer
Rams coach Rocky Rockhold talks about the win over Columbus South.

3. (29) Daved Jones, Lakota West linebacker 

The 6-2, 200-pounder logged 44 tackles, recovered two fumbles and scored a touchdown last season for the Firebirds. 

He has offers from Cincinnati, Iowa State, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Pitt, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. 

4. (39) Gavin Gerhardt, Xenia offensive lineman (Committed to Cincinnati) 

The 6-3, 290-pounder helped pave the way for the Buccaneers, who won an outright league title for the first time in almost 50 years, to average 350.4 yards on the ground and 33.3 points per game last season. 

5. (45) David Afari, Lakota West linebacker 

At 5-10, 200 pounds, Afari has worn many hats for the Firebirds. He was the leading rusher with 639 yards on 161 carries last season and caught 12 passes for 50 yards. He also returned a kickoff for a touchdown. 

Cincinnati, Louisville, Miami University, Toledo and Western Michigan have offered. 

Lakota West’s David Afari carries the ball and is surrounded by Fairfield’s Greg Fitzpatrick (left) and Dealo McIntosh during Sept. 14 game at Fairfield Stadium. Fairfield won 37-3. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

6. (55) Jaiden Cameron, Northmont defensive end 

A 6-4, 221-pounder with long arms, he logged 31 tackles last season and already counts six Power 5 schools among his offers — Michigan State, Baylor, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Minnesota and Pittsburgh — along with multiple MAC teams, Cincinnati and Yale. 

Northmont’s Jaiden Cameron (9) takes a swipe at a Central running back. Pickerington Central defeated Northmont 33-7 in a D-I, Region 3 semifinal at Springfield s Evans Stadium on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

7. (64) Larry Stephens, Springfield receiver (Committed to Toledo) 

The 6-1 two-way player was SHS’s No. 2 receiver with 15 catches for 363 yards and five touchdowns last season. He also returned kicks and punts while playing defensive back for the Wildcats and averaged around nine points per game for the GWOC National East co-champions basketball team.

This week he listed his offers as Akron, Miami University, Ball State and Youngstown State along with the Rockets. 

Stephens has verbally committed to Toledo

8. (64) Jeffrey Tolliver, Springfield running back 

This 5-11, 183-pound speedster was the Wildcats’ second-leading rusher with 566 yards on 95 carries. 

He also ran for a team-high eight touchdowns, caught nine passes for 157 yards and a touchdown and has an offer from Kentucky. 

Springfield High School’s Jeff Tolliver runs the ball against Hilliard Davidson during their Division I, Region 3 semifinal game on Friday night at London High School. Hilliard Davidson won 17-14.
Photo: Contributing Writer

9. (70) Sawiaha Ellis, Fairfield athlete 

The 6-2, 220-pounder completed 24 of 39 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns with one interception, ran for 120 yards on 18 attempts and caught 15 passes for 230 yards last season for the Indians. He has offers from Ball State, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Toledo, Western Michigan and Youngstown State. 

Fairfield quarterback Sawiaha Ellis carries the football during their game against Lakota West Friday, Sept. 14 at Fairfield Stadium. Fairfield won 37-3. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Photo: Nick Graham

10. (79) Dayveon Bates, Springfield defensive back 

A transfer from Ada who previously played at Colerain, he has interest from Akron, Ohio University, Cincinnati and Kentucky according to 247Sports

Larry Stephens of Springfield was among players working out for college coaches May 6 in the Miami Valley.

11. (83) Tay’Veon Smoot, Springfield running back 

The 5-11, 235-pound power back led the team with 863 yards rushing but suffered a knee injury at the end of the season. He also scored five total touchdowns and has an offer from Kentucky. 

Springfield's Tay'Veon Smoot tries to avoid a tackle by Fairmont's Chase Fugate. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

12. (85) Jordan Howard, Springfield receiver 

Big-bodied athlete caught nine passes for 173 yards last season and has an offer from Kentucky. 

13. (94) Khaliyal Sowell, Hamilton defensive back 

Versatile athlete completed eight of 20 passes for 93 yards with an interception, ran for 51 yards on 17 carries and had 11 tackles and an interception last season. He has been offered by Indiana, where former Big Blue standout A’Shon Riggins is a multi-year starter. 

Hamilton quarterback Khaliyal Sowell runs the ball during their football game against Princeton Friday, Oct. 20 at Hamilton High School. Princeton won 31-17. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Photo: Nick Graham

If you are a player in the area (or the coach or parent of one) receiving recruiting attention, we want to know. Drop an email to marcus.hartman@coxinc.com with offers, visits, summer camp plans, etc. 

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